Is there a way to select a good color scheme for easy figure viewing

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Heidi Hirsh
Heidi Hirsh on 9 Oct 2019
Commented: Stephen on 10 Oct 2019
I have timeseries data from nine depths under water. I was to plot it together and still be able to discriminate depth. Right now I have defined colors across the jet colormap using this line set(h, {'color'}, num2cell(colors, 2)) after defining colors as n = size(PK.mab,1);
colors = flipud(jet(n)); where n=9. This works ok except that the middle colors (yellow, cyan, light green) are difficult to decipher in the resultant figure. Does anyone have a better suggestion for a different colormap or something else? I want the colors to look nice together and make sense with depth (right now I use "cooler" colors (blues) for deep water and "warmer" colors (reds) for shallow water). Any ideas welcome! THANK YOU!
I have included a section of my current plots in the screenshot attached.

Accepted Answer

Stephen
Stephen on 10 Oct 2019
Edited: Stephen on 10 Oct 2019
Do NOT use jet ! Read these to know why:
etc.
"Does anyone have a better suggestion for a different colormap or something else?"
Firstly you need to know if your data are sequential or qualitative:
  1. sequential data means that the relative order of the data is significant. This incudes most physical phenonema, e.g. velocities, sizes, weights, etc. These are typically used in surface plots, etc., by setting the colormap.
  2. qualitative data are where the order is not significant, e.g. test subjects, etc.. Typically created via plot as separate lines, and the color is controlled by the axes line ColorOrder property.
Once you are certain if your data is sequential or quantitative, then selecting colormap is easy. A good place to start is by using Cynthia Brewer's colormaps, e.g. my FEX submission:
Or you can search on FEX for suitable colormaps:
You will even find some that are specifically designed for depths similar to what you describe, e.g.:
Not that to use FEX submissions they need to be downloaded and unzipped onto the MATLAB Search Path, or simply into the current directory.
  5 Comments
Stephen
Stephen on 10 Oct 2019
"I just didn't know where the 9 went"
I also didn't know, but reading the cmocean documentation gave the required information.
"Do I need to adjust my line to set the colors as well?"
The rest of your code should work just the same.

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